WASHINGTON — The impeachment case against President Donald Trump has been formally handed off to the Senate following a procession by Democratic House leaders across the Capitol.
The Senate will transform itself into an impeachment court at noon Thursday. The Constitution calls for Chief Justice John Roberts to preside at the trial, administering the oath to senators who will serve as jurors and swear to deliver “impartial justice.”
Update 5:45 p.m. EST Jan. 15: The Impeachment document arrived in the Senate chamber after House Democrats carried the articles in a procession across Capitol.
Update 5:30 p.m. EST Jan. 15: Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi has signed the Articles of Impeachment Resolution.
Update 2:20 p.m. EST Jan. 15: An unidentified senior administration official told The Washington Post the White House expects President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate to wrap quickly.
"I think it's extraordinarily unlikely that we'd be going beyond two weeks," the official said, according to the Post. "We think that this case is overwhelming for the president, and the Senate's not going to be having any need to be taking (a longer) amount of time on this."
Update 1:35 p.m. EST Jan. 15: The House voted 228 to 193 in favor of sending impeachment articles against President Donald Trump to the Senate and naming seven Democrats to serve as impeachment managers for the trial.
Update 1:20 p.m. EST Jan. 15: The House is voting on whether to approve of the impeachment managers named Wednesday morning by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Update 11:05 a.m. EST Jan. 15: White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement Wednesday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to name impeachment managers "does not change a single thing."
“President Trump has done nothing wrong,” she said. “He looks forward to having the due process rights in the Senate that Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats denied to him, and expects to be fully exonerated.”
The House impeached Trump on Dec. 18 on charges of abuse and obstruction after he was accused of pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, who is vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Update 10:55 a.m. EST Jan. 15: President Donald Trump slammed Democrats on Wednesday morning as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named the lawmakers who would serve as impeachment managers during the president's anticipated trial in the senate.
“Here we go again, another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats,” Trump wrote. “All of this work was supposed to be done by the House, not the Senate!”
Democrats have asked for witnesses to be called as part of the Senate trial, though Republicans have indicated they won't call for new testimony. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said calling witnesses falls under the House's purview and not the Senate's, according to CNN.
Update 10:35 a.m. EST Jan. 15: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she chose the seven Democrats to serve as impeachment managers for President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate based on how comfortable they were likely to be in a courtroom.
She said Wednesday “the emphasis is on litigators.”
“The emphasis is on making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution to seek the truth for the American people,” Pelosi said.
Update 10:15 a.m. EST Jan. 15: Pelosi named seven Democrats to serve as impeachment managers: House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler, House Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Val Demings, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Sylvia Garcia and Rep. Jason Crow.
Original report: Pelosi announced plans Tuesday to choose impeachment managers, who will be tasked with prosecuting the case against Trump, the next necessary step in the impeachment process.
The House voted last month to impeach Trump on charges of abuse and obstruction, but since then Pelosi has resisted calls to release the articles to the Senate. The California Democrat has said that members of her party need more information on the proposed rules of the Senate trial to inform her decision on who to put forth as impeachment managers.
“I’ll send them over when I’m ready. And that will probably be soon,” Pelosi told reporters last week. "We want to see what (Senate Republicans are) willing to do and the manner in which they will do it."
House Democrats launched the impeachment inquiry after learning of a whistleblower complaint filed in August by an official concerned about Trump’s attempts to get Ukrainian officials to investigate former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
In a July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump asked his counterpart to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden while holding up military aide for Ukraine. A Ukrainian gas company had hired Hunter Biden when his father was vice president and the Obama administration’s point man on Ukraine. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.